The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has received a big portion of federal money targeted for wetland protection.
Nationally the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $2.6 million in wetlands grants.
DNREC will get $443,000 to help the state manage wetland resources and prepare for changing coastal conditions.
“EPA’s Wetland Program Development Grants will enhance our ability to assess the conditions of our wetlands and identify specific stressors on these vital systems,” said DNREC Secretary David Small. “This information is critical to ongoing restoration and protection efforts and will further bolster our library of wetlands data that is valuable to our state and our partners in the mid-Atlantic region. The recent work of the state’s Wetlands Advisory Committee identified the importance of various incentives to protect wetlands, and this grant will assist in our communications and interactions with landowners who play a key role in managing these resources.”
DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program will use the three-year grant for the following programs:
-Identify properties for protection to accommodate landward migration of tidal wetlands.
-Assess the ambient condition of tidal and non-tidal wetlands in the C&D Canal and Red Lion Creek Watersheds.
-Develop a wetland condition assessment method specifically for freshwater tidal wetlands.
-Develop a wetland condition report for the Smyrna River watershed.
-Collect long-term, site-specific biological and physical tidal wetland monitoring data.
-Create outreach materials to better inform the public on wetlands and to enhance wetland stewardship.
-Update statewide tidal wetland maps.
-Develop supporting data and information to address and improve wetland protection as relates to climate change.
“Wetlands are one of our nation’s most unique ecosystems and they play a significant role in protecting our nation’s water supply,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “By committing to protect and restore these valuable resources, DNREC is in the forefront of keeping our lakes, rivers and streams clean.”
Wetlands make up 25 percent of land in Delaware.